Home Nigeria US charges Nigerian businessman, firms with multimillion-dollar fraud

US charges Nigerian businessman, firms with multimillion-dollar fraud



The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has said  Tingo Group Inc. lied about having $461.7m in its subsidiary Tingo Mobile’s Nigerian bank accounts when it only had $50 in said accounts.

SEC announced this on Monday when it announced charges against the Mmobuosi Banye also known as Dozy Mmobuosi and three affiliated US-based entities of which he is the Chief Executive Officer — Tingo Group Inc., Agri-Fintech Holdings Inc., and Tingo International Holdings Inc.

According to the commission, Mmobuosi is being charged in connection with an alleged multi-year scheme to inflate the financial performance metrics of his companies and key operating subsidiaries to defraud investors worldwide.

SEC notes that it is seeking emergency relief to prevent the defendants’ continued dissemination of materially false information to investors and to protect corporate and investor assets.

In a statement, SEC said, “The SEC’s complaint, filed on December 18, 2023, alleges that, since at least 2019, Mmobuosi spearheaded a scheme to fabricate financial statements and other documents of the three entities and their Nigerian operating subsidiaries, Tingo Mobile Limited and Tingo Foods PLC. The complaint further alleges that Mmobuosi made and caused the entities to make material misrepresentations about their business operations and financial success in press releases, periodic SEC filings, and other public statements.

“For instance, Tingo Group’s fiscal year 2022 Form 10-K filed in March 2023 reported a cash and cash equivalent balance of $461.7m in its subsidiary Tingo Mobile’s Nigerian bank accounts. In reality, those same bank accounts allegedly had a combined balance of less than $50 as of the end of fiscal year 2022. According to the SEC’s complaint, Defendants also fabricated the customer relationships that formed the basis of their purported businesses.

“The complaint alleges that Mmobuosi and the entities he controls have fraudulently obtained hundreds of millions in money or property through these schemes, and that Mmobuosi has siphoned off funds for his personal benefit, including purchases of luxury cars and travel on private jets, as well as an unsuccessful attempt to acquire an English Football Club Premier League team, among other things.”

According to SEC, its case is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the four defendants are being charged with violating the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws.

The commission added that Mmobuosi was being charged with lying to auditors, insider trading, and failing to file Forms 4 disclosing the sales of millions of Agri-Fintech common stock for which he was the ultimate beneficial owner.

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